Fishing Fast ... Slowly

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

Mark Zona and I call it "power finesse," but other people have described it as how I fish fast ... slowly.

I get a lot of jokes about always fishing really fast. Mark Davis even tells a story about my fishing a Carolina rig. When he flails his arms around the way he claims I was working the plastic worm, it looks like he's trying to flag down a rescue plane on a deserted island.

Now I'll admit that I find it hard to really slow down the way some guys do, but if you're willing to learn my power finesse method, you'll see that you really can fish fast and do it slowly. You'll even catch more bass doing it.

First, you have to realize that just because my trolling motor is on high and my boat is moving along pretty fast, it doesn't mean that my lure is moving fast. In fact, my lure may be sitting perfectly still.

Power finesse is all about efficiency. It's about making as many quality presentations to prime targets as you possibly can in a limited amount of time. Let me give you an example.

Let's imagine that you've been working boat docks all morning in the early summer, and you've put together a pretty specific pattern. You've caught a few fish by casting a green pumpkin Strike King Zero to the deep water pilings on boat docks near points, and determined that the better fish are suspended just a couple of feet below the surface. Every strike you've gotten has come on the initial fall.

Now, you could work every piling on every dock and really soak that Zero, and you'll certainly catch some fish that way. But that's not very efficient.

What I would do is put my trolling motor on high, hitting the ends of docks and making one really accurate cast to the deep pilings. If I haven't gotten a strike by the time the bait falls 5 feet deep, I'm cranking it up and making the next cast. And I'm never taking my foot off the trolling motor. In fact, I may be going so fast that I have to feed line back to the bait to keep from pulling it away from the target.

If necessary, I might slow the trolling motor down enough that I can make multiple presentations to the same target, but I'm still going to be moving as fast I as can to hit as many prime spots during the course of the day as possible.

It makes a big difference. If you can hit 50 percent more prime targets over the course of the day, you should get 50 percent more strikes, catch 50 percent more bass and have lots more chances to cull if you're in a tournament. It's not an easy or relaxing method, but it's tremendously effective.

Remember, once you've figured out the pattern, you're only halfway done — lots of other guys may have found a successful pattern. You need to determine the most efficient way to execute it in order to maximize your opportunities.